Expert Sees Technology as Growth Driver for Retail Businesses

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By  Emma Okonji

Operators within the Nigerian retail economy have been charged to integrate technology into their processes for better service delivery.
This is also expected to help the sector achieve its growth potential of $40 billion by 2020.

Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, FoodCo Nigeria Limited, Ade Sun-Basorun, who was guest speaker at the just concluded Google Business Group Training, Ibadan Chapter, gave the advice during the business training in Oyo State.

Delivering a paper on the topic: “Leveraging Technology for Business Management and Growth,” Sun-Basorun explained that while government continues to make efforts at diversifying the country’s economy, such investments would only be amplified in the retail sector if stakeholders key into technology to enhance their processes and harness the opportunities that abound therein.

He said: “The proper application of digitisation has significant potential to improve the quality of service delivery for customers across key functions within the retail value chain.

“It has huge upsides for individual companies and the sector as a whole especially in the areas of predictive analytics, forecasting and demand for various products at different locations, better pricing algorithms that can react to changes in the cost of import and cost for customer needs, pattern analytics of customer feedbacks to identify potential issues and risks before they become sources of customer dissatisfaction amongst others.”

He further said: “Since Nigerian consumers have welcomed the arrival of e-commerce, it automatically places a challenge on retail operators to work out how they can leverage on it to achieve higher levels of convenience and speed of delivery.

“With the ever growing penetration of smart phones and mobile devices and an increased need for personalised service, the requirement for retailers to embrace big data, sometimes called business intelligence, to enable them understand the specific profile and needs of customers and connect with them at their point of needs is becoming as relevant for us as a Nigerian industry as it is for more western audience.”

He advised that retailers must employ innovative and collaborative mechanism in order to meet the talent needs of utilising technology.
“From partnering with small start-ups to specialist resources, we will be employing those sorts of mechanisms, given the higher level of competition for skill technology resources in the country,” he added.